For several years, our son was into pirates. This was before Pirates of the Caribbean. We played with Playmobil pirate guys and pirate ships. He had several pirate costumes, including a great one from Gymboree. Pirate books. Pirate toys from Imaginext. Pirate maps. Pirate activity books. A pirate bath mit, to keep you clean. Pirate jokes.
I learned how using one topic that appeals to your child, and hopefully you, the educational appeal is endless. We are still somewhat fascinated by pirates. The pirates of childhood are more silly than mean, altho they do have disagreements.
Currently, we are in a Star Wars phase. My husband has realized that he has to read more of the Star Wars books that our son reads just so we can keep up. Boba Fett rules. If that Lego guy gets lost, the whole house is turned upside.
We are also enjoying playing Lego Star Wars I and II on xBox. Thanks to my brother for the xBox, which has made his nephew really popular among certain friends. These two xbox games are some of the best that we have played. The second one is a vast improvement over the first, which was great. The second one has even more little puzzles, games, and character switches to make it more fun. One of the great aspects to the xBox is that it has a hard drive, so we can bring in characters from the first game into the second. It's cool to watch Darth Vadar battle his younger self.
Check out Gamer Dad, in the Media list on the side, for reviews of games with a sense of what's appropriate for family members.